The Latest on Shareholder Climate Activity: BlackRock Begins Explaining Its Votes

We previously noted BlackRock’s recent shareholder votes in favor of increased reporting of climate risks by ExxonMobil and Occidental.  Now, BlackRock has stepped it up a notch by including “vote bulletins” on its investment stewardship web page.  The bulletins will be provided:

in relation to certain high profile proposals at company shareholder meetings. Although we currently explain many of these votes in our quarterly reports, the explanation is usually anonymized and high level. Given the interest in certain votes, we decided it was more effective to explain our approach and decision publicly on the day of the meeting, or shortly thereafter, so interested clients and others can be aware of BlackRock’s vote when it is of most relevance to them.

One fun tidbit from the ExxonMobil bulletin — BlackRock voted against the reelection of two independent directors, as a protest against ExxonMobil’s policy refusing to make independent directors available to meet with BlackRock.

BlackRock must have concluded that, if it wants its increased shareholder activism to have an impact, it needs to get the word out.  I assume that BlackRock is hoping for a bandwagon effect.  We’ll see how effective it is, but I sure don’t see shareholder climate activism decreasing any time in the foreseeable future.

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